"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, March 07, 2013

KIPPster Jay Mathews, Practiced in the Art of Deception

Leader Feinberg
That's a line from the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," of course.  If Jay could get what he wants, it would be a KIPP in every black or brown community of America, where Alpha male CEO "school leaders," with  shaved heads, white shirts, and bad attitudes ride herd on a clueless group of white female TFA "corp members," who were successfully brainwashed during the 6 weeks of basic teacher training to run themselves and their students into the ground if the Fisher-trained school leader commands it.  Whatever is good for the Family.

If Jay is not already part of the Family, he is trying hard to prove his worth.  In his latest celebration of the final installment of the Mathematical KIPP study, he begins by making stuff up, i. e., lying:

The $4 million study was paid for by the Atlantic Philanthropies, which focuses on improving the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. It will not be the last word on KIPP and other organizations that employ strong principals, creative teacher teams, extra time and strong rules of behavior. But the report provides more data for those of us arguing about this, and sheds new light on what works and doesn’t work at KIPP.
Fact: The only, though substantial, donation to KIPP from Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) was in 2006 for $14+ million. And AP never commissioned a KIPP study from Mathematica. To say this study was paid for by AP is simply untrue. KIPP bought this study from its hundreds of millions of dollars, and it would be just as easy to assume that the $4 million for the study had come from a mix of cash from the Waltons or the Bradley Foundation. Or Gates.  
How was the study shaped by KIPP's paid handlers?  This is from the Acknowledgements:
. . .the study and this report benefited greatly from input at various stages from Danielle Eisenberg, Jonathan Cowan, and Steve Mancini at the KIPP Foundation, as well as Carrie Hahnel at The Education Trust—West, Ila Deshmukh Towery at TNTP, and Jason Atwood at Teach For America. 
To Jay's credit, he does mention in his final paragraph that the study found some negative outcomes, despite the KIPP and TFA handlers:
Mathematica found that the schools had no significant impact on persistence and educational aspirations, based on surveys of students and parents. But KIPP students were more likely to report misbehavior such as losing their temper or giving teachers a hard time. 
Was that because they were more prone to mouth off or more prone to admit they had mouthed off? 
Actually, Jay, the researchers found that KIPP students are more apt to lie than to be more "prone to admit" their actions.  Trained as as they are in "grit" production but not so much in honesty, these children are more prone to prevaricate after the KIPP-notization process:   "the findings suggest that enrollment in a KIPP school leads to an increase in the likelihood that students report engaging in undesirable behavior such as lying to or arguing with parents" (p. xii).   
Does an association with KIPP cause one to lie, Jay??
The study does not mention the learned helplessness displayed by KIPPsters or the off-campus acting out that results from children in pressure cooker schools 9-10 hours a day.  
And this study only examines attitudes, behaviors, etc. in the 13 lottery KIPP schools in the sample, where teacher pay is higher, classes are smaller, and turnover is lower than other KIPPs. And we only have info from those who signed consent forms. So we know nothing of the behavior and perception issues of the other 31 schools in the study or the vast majority of KIPPsters who are locked down in total compliance penal pedagogy schools at the other 112 KIPP camps. 
There is more that Mathews leaves out, including the fact that KIPPs have about a third fewer special ed and ELL students.  I address some of these, including the misleading attrition numbers, in this post.

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